How Forests Think

Martyna Poznańska and Peter Cusack
Audiovisual Report from Białowieża Forest
Vysočina Regional Gallery, Jihlava
Opening: 7 June 2018, 5 PM

This group exhibition focuses on the depiction of the forest in European art today. It is inspired by current scientific approaches to plants that accentuate “passionate immersion” in the surrounding non-human world, enlarging the sphere of representation, and cultivating the idea of the forest as an interconnected and thinking organism.


In their pursuit to find a new approach to the realm of plants, new forms of cooperation among various fields and species emerge. The title of the exhibition comes from the book How Forests Think by anthropologist Eduardo Kahn, in which he asks what it means to be human in such an expanded world.

Artworks can help nourish the “art of attention” necessary for a change in approach to other living organisms. Art, often in close connection with science, can enlarge our sensitivity towards non-human objects and disrupt our ideas about what is normal and desirable concerning our treatment of plants. It teaches us to think about forests, or together with them.

The selection of works emphasizes a diversity of possible approaches, but at the same time makes up a unit, a report on the current audiovisual thinking about forests (included in the exhibition are sound reportage, graphic art, sound and video installation, land art, painting, drawing, illustration, and poetry).

Forests play a complex role in European culture and imagination. This exhibition explores the concept of the forest as a recourse, a place foreign and unknown, the forest as an immeasurable space as well as a clearly confined and neatly organized area, where various and often contradictory interests mingle and interfere. Vysočina is a region with a rich tradition of landscape painting, having artists still living in the middle of the “wilderness.” Local artists will be presented together with authors from elsewhere in the Czech Republic and also from Finland, Latvia, Romania, Poland and Great Britain.

Sound artists Martyna Poznańska (current Agosto artist in residence) and Peter Cusack, among other things an “acoustic ecologist,” have created a new version of their audiovisual report from the Białowieża Forest, where until recently the illegal logging of an irreplaceable European primeval forest was taking place.

Artists in the Exhibition

Anca Benera + Arnold Estefán, Pavla Dvorská, Petr Gruber, Ilkka Halso, Sanna Hukkanen, Jitka Chrištofová, Filip Kochan, Marie Ladrová, Antti Laitinen, Ondřej Maleček, Jakub Nepraš, Martyna Poznańska + Peter Cusack, Pavel Sterec + Jan Horčík + Ondřej Dadejík + Jan Brož, Petr Stibral, Rihards Vitols

Curators: Lenka Dolanová, Michal Kindernay
Design: Onkubator (Klára Zahrádková, Ondřej Trnka) 

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